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KSC Alumnus James Pelletier Leads International Effort to Honor 9/11 Victims

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James Pelletier '02
James Pelletier '02

Now a resident of Winchendon, MA, Keene State alumnus, James Pelletier, combines art, poetry, and writing to create a range of award-winning works exhibited from the Monadnock Region to New York City. In the 1970s and 1980s James coordinated large, community-based multimedia art projects including NIGHT/LIGHT, an exhibit that transformed the cityscape of Lower Manhattan into a lightwork display in Battery Park.

As an adult, James was diagnosed with “divergent visual perception,” a visual processing condition often found in artists and architects. While it can serve as a creative asset, the condition also slows reading speed. As a student at Keene State, James relied heavily on the support of Learning Ally/Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic (LA/RFB&D) while pursuing his degree in an individualized major in psychology and biology. LA/RFB&D is an organization that utilizes volunteers to record audiotapes for individuals who cannot read standard print due to visual impairments or learning disabilities. James graduated from Keene State in 2002 with a 4.0 grade point average.

During his junior year at KSC, the attacks during September 11 occurred, and James left to volunteer at Ground Zero for several months. Using his connection to the Manhattan RFB&D, James organized Remember to Remember September 11, a collaboration with New York City-RFB&D and the United Nations. The original 2002 project was a recording by the volunteers at NYC-RFB&D, actress Betsy Palmer, and actor Jerry Orbach, of all the names of the Twin Tower victims. It was presented as part of the first anniversary tributes in Battery Park. In 2008, Remember to Remember September 11 was expanded to include all of the names of the lives lost.

Now for the 20th anniversary of 9/11, LA/RFB&D volunteers from across the United States and around the world will record James’ poem “Downtown Lower Manhattan” that he wrote after returning home from New York City.

Former President Jimmy Carter, The Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and others have praised the poem, and celebrities including Ken Burns and Pete Seeger are among 275 people who have recorded it for a forthcoming montage presentation of the poem. The recording will be given to the September 11 Museum along with the 2002 recording of the 9/11 victims’ names that took place in their New York City unit.

Read the poem “Downtown Lower Manhattan” and more about Remember to Remember September 11 in The Gardner News.

Read about James’s art career here.

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